Friday, May 31, 2013

Western TV Week: Gunsmoke

Howdy buckaroos and welcome to the finale of Western TV Week.  Now given I had not seen this series prior to this write-up I got to find out all sorts of facts.  Placed in the surrounding area of Dodge City Kansas this is the first of the TV Westerns to be shown in the Midwestern states rather than the West coast.   So get your daisy suits cleaned, polish them spurs and prep for one mighty fine shindig.  This is Gunsmoke.

Hmm wonder how Peter Graves is doing.

Festus: Spoiler Dillon!!!!

Right off the first episode you get a feeling this show is going to have a sense of style to it.  It gets introduced by the Duke himself, John Wayne.  Giving praises to both the show and cast members.  Not too shabby for right out of the gate and was adapted from the same name titled radio show to television.

Deputy US Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness of The Thing from Another World, Iron Man, Hellgate, Hondo, Them! And McClain’s Law) dispenses justice in Dodge City and the surrounding areas.   Having two regular deputies Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis of Rio Grande, The Searchers, The Killer Shrews, The Giant Gila Monster and Ripcord) a cantankerous grump and Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver of Touch of Evil, Kentucky Jones, Gentle Ben, Duel and McCloud) a scrappy fellow with a good gun hand, Dillon had the authority to deputize anyone of use and wanting to serve the good folk of Dodge City and the surrounding territories.   Keeping the peace with compassion but backed up with six shooters and rifles.

Low down horse thieving...Hey is that Scotty?!!

One of notoriety in my opinion is the half breed Indian blacksmith, Quint (Burt Reynolds of Dan August, Deliverance, Shamus, White Lighting, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit and Malone) whose main role was to go into a residing town and apparently get the crap wailed out of him.  Granted Quint gave as well as he got but still lay off the poor guy.    

When the fellas are not out keeping the peace, they are taking in a show at the Long Branch Saloon to catch Miss Kathleen “Kitty” Russel (Amanda Blake of Sunny Side of the Street, Lili, A Star is Born, The Red Skelton Hour and Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge) who is quite the eyeful.  Miss Kitty is the sole proprietor of the saloon/hotel/brothel and yet was never viewed as a madam in the town’s eye but a business woman.
Gator McKlusky??!!!

A few points of interest I thought I would bring up.  While the story takes place in Dodge City; there are more than a few locations that look awfully familiar.  Such as Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Paramount Ranch, Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth California and Simi Valley.  For most of the interior shots from anything to a gunfight to a bar room brawl we can surmise these shots took place in the CBS Studio Center as well as California Studios for the in-depth rafter lighting for the bar’s interior shots.

Miss Kitty takes no guff.

Also the barrage of guest stars of the show such as Claude Akins, Ed Asner, James Doohan, Barbara Eden, Leif Garrett, Beverly Garland, Jodie Foster and Dennis Hopper  just to name a handful.  Lasting for 20 years this Western truly gripped the imagination.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Western TV Week: Rawhide

Welcome back folks to Day 4 of Western TV Week and boy I sure do hope I haven’t caught you lot at the other end of the cracker barrel!  Yeah I can’t do old west colloquiums so sue me.  This fine day I thought we would saunter into a cattle drive with a stern but fair trail boss Gil Favor.  So throw a blanket on that horse before you saddle it, keep your gunpowder and your pants dry.  This is Rawhide.

Jeepers I hates this neckerchief!
 Gil Favor: It’s not the roundin’ up and the ropin’ and the branding of the spoiler that’s the big problem for ranchers. It’s getting’ ‘em to market-  fifteen hundred bone weary miles from the the southern tip of Texas to the railhead at Sedalia.

You know you are in good company with a fella name of Gil Favor (Eric Fleming of Joan of Arc. Conquest of Space, Fright, Queen of Outer Space and Curse of the Undead) one of the best dangnabbit trail bosses this side of the Ponderosa.   Carnswallot I can manage these comments!
Give us your lupines!!!

 With Gil is his trusted ranch hand and dead shot Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood of Ambush of Cimarron Pass, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, Hang ‘Em High, Where Eagles Dare, Kelly’s Heroes, Dirty Harry and City Heat) and Yates’ sidekick the cantankerous Wishbone (Paul Brinegar of Hell on Devil’s Island, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Vampire, Copper Sky, How to Make a Monster and Country Boy). As their new herds get in and across the lands, trouble always seems a brewing.  Plenty of cattle rustlers, card sharks and crooked politicians as much as the Cartwrights…the difference being our beef cattle hands were in a new location every episode.    Not to be sticklers on a tight schedule our riders would stop to help settlers from an Indian attack, farm folk that got jumped by raiders and the occasional silver miner that was flogged away from his claim.  

Here are just a few notes I made about the series.   This was the competition of Paramount as a Universal Studios production and it lasted 8 years and was the fifth longest running Western show next to exceeded only by 8 years of Wagon Train, 9 years of The Virginian, 14 years of Bonanza and 20 years of Gunsmoke.     The first 3 years of Rawhide were in glorious black and white and then Technicolor reared its evil head and ensnared the show.   Locations had to vary from the standard studio lots of Universal Studios as well as Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park and Simi Valley California for most of the trail shots.  Red Rock Canyon State Park got a fair amount of use during Indian raids against the cattle hands.  Yeah the portrayals of Native Americans from 1935 to 1975 are not the most flattering.    

Well cow, did I fire 6 times or only 5?

CBS Studio Center had a fair amount of sound stages for the local towns but just watch a few episodes and you will notice more than a few similar sets per town.   This is was a big career changer for Eastwood as at the time in question he was better known for Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Western TV Week : Bonanza

Hey cowpokes and welcome back for Day 3 of Western TV Week.  I thought we would check in on a family homestead that touched America’s heart and tickled its fancy.  A family that more fist fights than Ike and Tina yet always knew how to connect. Ranching can be a difficult undertaking, and in the Ponderosa you could be dealing with anything from cattle rustlers to die hard gunfighters.  It is always best to be on the sheriff’s side when that happens, however I am here to tell you it’s alright when you pick a fight.  This is Bonanza.

Lorne Greene's duh face.

Ben Cartwright: Look at it, Adam. Feast thine eyes on a spoiler that approacheth Heaven itself.

Unlucky in love but lucky at cards thrice widowed Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene of Sailor of Fortune, The Buccaneer, Griff and Battlestar Galactica) tends to his 600,000 acre ranch in Lake Tahoe.  A fine place to raise your kids and boy howdy if Ben doesn’t have the politest boys around like his eldest Adam (Pernell Roberts of The Silent Gun, Four Rode Out, Mission: Impossible, Vega$ and The Love Boat) the architect that designed the ranch house, His biggin’ beasty of a boy Eric a.k.a. Hoss (Dan Blocker of Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, The Restless Gun, Cimarron City and Lady in Cement) who built the ranch by knocking over trees with his bare hands(my guess) and youngest boy and a bit of a heart throb, Joseph ‘ Little Joe’ (Michael Landon of Crossroads, Telephone Time, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, High School Confidential!, Luke and the Tenderfoot and Little House on the Prairie) and each son in question is from these different mothers.

You touching me Steve.

Apparently in the 50’s the mother was not allowed to live.   From week to week the Cartwrights got in typical western shenanigans consisting of horse thieves, irate Indians, gunfighters with too much rye in their belly and more than a few bank robbers.  The MacGuffin device of this series was they went into town, it got robbed.  They went to a neighborly farm, Apaches attempt to burn it to the ground and ravage the women. 
And now I have just a few points of observation of the show.  

This is one of the few American shows that managed to go to 14 seasons.   While the show was to take place in Lake Tahoe, primarily the show was filmed on both Stage 17 and Stage 18 in Paramount Studios and Chavez Ravine, Elysian Park, Los Angeles.  Amazingly enough this is one of the few Western TV series that was not shot in Vasquez Rocks for their fist and gun fights as well as long drawn horseback chases.   Holcomb Valley was more for the range warfare and drawn out gun battles.  

Hehe, not a thought in her little head.

Apparently any female even remotely interested in the Cartwrights seem to do die around them.  All kidding aside this was a pretty common reoccurrence.   They are just death to all that hold internal sexual organs.  My theory is some family curse that was thrust upon Ben Cartwright and all of his kin.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Western TV Week: Have Gun, Will Travel

Bueno dias campers and welcome to Day 2 of Western TV Week so let’s saunter on through.  This time we move towards San Francisco to a professional gunfighter, a trouble shooter if you will.  The Enigmatic Paladin has his own calling card.  So saddle up, have an ace in the hole and have your wits about you.  This is Have Gun Will Travel.

hmm methinks this young lady is from the F-Troop tribe.

Paladin: I don’t think you got a good look at this spoiler while you had it. The balance is perfect.  This trigger responds to a pressure of one ounce.

Former West Point graduate and Civil War Veteran Paladin (Richard Boone of Halls of Montezuma, Call Me Mister, Return of the Texan, Pony Soldier, Medic, Hombre and Big Jake) has emerged from the war in favor of the finer things in life with his care free hotel room in the Carlton.  When he wasn’t enjoying a series of poker or a bottle of Dom Perignon and seats at the opera; a professional gunslinger with his business card over a picture of a chess knight piece that reads: Have Gun, Will Travel…Wire Paladin, San Francisco.   

Brisco's got nothing on Paladin!

This man was characterized as an anti-hero. I assume this is due to the fact he is constituted as a bounty hunter, gunfighter and everyman’s hero.  Traveling from town to town on horseback or by train he found his mission objectives and earned his money.  To me, he came across as a necessary evil. The final justice in a land that had no real law was at the barrel of his balanced and weighed .45 revolver, his derringer and a lever-action Marlin rifle. His marksmanship was second to none.  His training, intelligence and tactical analysis gave him a massive edge.

The only other reoccurring character is handy boy and bellhop Hey Boy (Kam Tong of The Hunters, Who Was That Lady, Walk Like a Dragon, The Virginian, Women of the Prehistoric Planet and Dimension 5) who Paladin harassed but it was good natured ribbing.
Now we discuss a few interesting notions of the show. Most of the character Paladin is shrouded in mystery.  You get the concept that he is not proud of being a soldier in the Civil War and his personal honor is greatly tarnished from this. 

 So many TV actors cut their teeth under this show and many other have furthered their existing careers such as: Ken Curtis of Gunsmoke, Charles Bronson of The Dirty Dozen and the Mechanic, Jacqueline Scott of Gunsmoke and Ironside, character actor George Kennedy of Gunsmoke, Dr. Kildare and the Naked Gun trilogy and Norma Crane of Fiddler on the Roof and They Call Me Mister Tibbs! 

Ow landed on my keys!

Once again Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Iverson Ranch and Bronson Canyon Griffith Park were being used as background trails from horse thieves and bushwhackers.   The series was filmed in 35mm Spherical and recorded in mono for audio. Paramount once again is the production for the CBS entertainment as it was with Gunsmoke, The Jack Benny Program and The Red Skelton Show.  A darker storyline but justice always prevailed in one form or another.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Western TV Week: The Wild Wild West

Back again kids and welcome to Western TV Week and let’s kick off this shindig right with embracing right after the Civil War we still have dangers to the country so President Grant enlisted some deep cover operatives for a long term operation.  So let’s dust off your spurs, grab your Stetson and your six-shooter.  This is The Wild Wild West.
Yes ladies I am a bit sweaty.

James T. West: It wasn’t your spoiler.
Lydia Monteran: It was…until you made me give it back.

Under the order of President Grant, James T. West (Robert Conrad of Sea Hunt, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Young Dillinger, The Bandits, The D.A., Assignment Vienna, Black Sheep Squadron, Centennial and The Lady in Red) a Civil War veteran and military intelligence officer is assigned to a long term deep undercover agent as well as his partner who is a master of disguise and tinkerer Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin of Geronimo, The Ceremony, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, The Return of Charlie Chan, Vega$ and Jana of the Jungle).  West is decked out as an East Coast dandy with a private train and more than a few bucks to spare for the expansion.   

Snap out of it, West! You've been playing 8 ball all day!

With no back up, no real cavalry to speak of these two men are outfitted with the true sense of steampunk based weapons.  Hidden blades, unusual firearms and a few odds and ends stave off warlords, privateers and banditos.    During the midst of this madcap tales there were plenty of reoccurring villains such as; Doctor Loveless (Michael Dunn of Ship of Fools, Get Smart, Burke’s Law, You’re a Big Boy Now and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) and Count Carlos Mario Vincenzo Robespierre Manzeppi (Victor Buono of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Batman and Target: Harry) both note worthy rogues in this den of thieves.  When West and Gordon are not trading punches and bullets they are wooing the ladies and let’s face it, a private train is the cat’s meow fellas.  Methinks that pool table got more than a few things racked on it.

And now I have just a few points to make about the show itself.  Primarily shot around Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth California as well as many horseback chases and gunfights found in a popular Paramount shooting location known as the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, commonly used for Gunsmoke, Star Trek and The Planet of the Apes films.   Another very popular location for filming was Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park for its more hilly terrain and greenery as it has been shot for TV show such as: Bonanza, Star Trek, Gunsmoke, Knight Rider and MacGyver. 

Mmm...hope she comes with the house.

This show is a conglomerate of Ian Fleming’s James Bond savvy, the hard hitting western era and a smidgeon of Jules Vernes science fiction.  Our villains could double for the 1930’s serials or comic book characters.  You commonly saw anything from a secret society in the wings to mad scientists, revolutionaries of the Mexican Army, former Confederates to corrupt politicians feathering their own nest of ill repute.   I always got a kick out of the newest invention or mad scientist weapon of mass destruction every other week.

Western TV Week

Howdy pardners and welcome to the mass conglomerate that is TV Westerns.  And boy howdy we have more than a few to get through this week and I hope yer six guns and spurs are clean and ready for action. So I will meet you in the tavern for a boilermaker and a round of cards.  Remember there is a no tolerance for cheaters.

I hope you all enjoy and again feel free to drop suggestions, comments and complaints so I know how I am doing.

I crap bigger than you!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Alternative Title Week: The Amazing Adventure

Hold on to your hats kiddies because we end Alternative Week this Friday on a Cary Grant flick? Gasp!  I know right?  To comment and critique about a film of class and elegance on my blog?  Poppycock you may say, but I say sit on your blood pressure and keep it down, ya hear me?  So dash out to the lobby, and get yerselves a drink and popcorn.  This is The Amazing Adventure a.k.a. The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss, The Amazing Quest, Riches and Romance and Romance and Riches.

Heavens, man. Is that your mustache or a small ferret nesting?

Ernest Bliss: Here’s to spoilers!

A fancy dan, a shiftless lay about millionaire of the name of Ernest Bliss (Cary Grant of His Girl Friday, My Favorite Wife, Notorious, Monkey Business, To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest and That Touch of Mink) is a rich, young man with too little to do and too much money to do it with; he suffers from "ennui." Not realizing the depression he's in is due to boredom, Ernest consults a doctor. Sir James Aldroyd (Peter Gawthorne of Good Morning Boys, Ask a Policeman, Much Too Shy and Soho Conspiracy) disgusted that a healthy young man is ill simply because of laziness and an indulgent lifestyle, gives Ernest a prescription he doesn't think Ernest can fill: Ernest must earn his own living for one year using none of his current wealth. Ernest bets him 50,000 English pounds that he can. 

I dare say I fancy more than a cup of tea.

Settling on a struggle oven company name of Alpha, Bliss reports directly to Frances Clayton (Mary Brian of The Front Page, Charlie Chan in Paris, Three Married Men, Killer at Large, Navy Blues and Affairs of Cappy Ricks) for his duty roster.  Sadly Bliss learns soon that he may not have the knack for salesmanship.  His boss Mr. Masters (John Turnbull of the Scarlet Pimpernel, Murder at the Baskervilles and The Hangman Waits) fears he will have to close up shop soon if supply and demand does not start to pick up.  With Clayton being sweet to him as a person he soon comes up with a publicity stunt to make up for their lack of sales brochures and details.   With a little ingenuity, Bliss helps the company and decides he has done all he can here and has several more months to go so back on the old work horse he heads.

Flailing in the rivers of hard work without a paddle; Ernest learns the true value of effort through working; the value of humankind, both good and bad, through living amongst the masses, the love of a good woman not dependent upon his monetary value and the blessing and responsibility of possessing money.

Darling, these dancers are a bit distracting.

And now I have just a few observational notes about this film.   This is director Alfred Zeisler’s fourth American major motion picture.  The film was shot on 35mm Spherical of which modern films could take a cue from.  It gives a wide range scope on your story and characters involved without snubbing the film quality and I have to hand it to the actor dealing with only a boom mic with a windsock for scenes.  Also the boom operators must have had the beefiest arms or the editor spotted every shadow.   It is simply flawless sound for it being shot in mono. 

Being clever, diverting and plenty of Grant snappy patter you will find this film moving, entertaining and just might make you smile. I dare say this film truly put Grant in the eyes of many and really pushed his career.   

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alternative Title Week: Ator the Invincible

Welcome to the tales of long ago.  In these realms lurks yet another alternative title for the week.  Now let us speak of days of high adventure!  Sorry it is really hard to break out of that speech pattern.  Ahem, grab your furry moon boots, sharpen your blade and mind. This is Ator, the Invincible a.k.a. Ator, the Fighting Eagle, Ator: The Fighting Eagle, Ator I’invincibile and Ator the Mighty.

Call dibs on the gold and jewel encrusted nut cup!

The Spoiler of Torren will bring about the dawning of a new age!

Director producer Joe D’Amato (Papaya: Love Goddess of the Cannibals, Anthropophagus, Erotic Delights and The Blade Master) is known for the following concepts: Over the top sci-fi fantasy with zero budget, Women In Prison Films and hard core pornography as I just found out the last.   Yes so you can already see the slippery slope that awaits us all.  The story of Ator unfolds with enough exposition that would have flabbergasted Tolkien.    Seriously that was incredibly long winded to the point of being worthy of a narration via Uwe Boll movie.  Only it was not continuous.  Our young lad Ator (Miles O’ Keefe of Tarzan, the Ape Man, The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sins of the Night, Shoot, Marked Man and Silent Hunter) has grown into a family that is not of his own.  He has feelings for his adopted sister Sunya (Ritza Brown of Beyond Good and Evil, From Hell to Victory, Monsignor and Tuareg: The Desert Warrior) and asks his foster father for her hand in marriage.

Ye olde Keg Partay!!!

 Yay! Almost incest for the start of our heroic tale all of 5 minutes in and boy who wouldn’t want that.  Father comes clean about Ator’s heritage and is overjoyed at the weird impending nuptials.   Father then speaks of a man name of Griba (Edmund Purdom of Sword of Freedom, Herod the Great, Anthropophagus, and Zombies 5: Killing Birds) that is destined to be his teacher in combat and the ways of the warrior so he may one day fulfill his prophecy of defeating the ancient spider god and his cult, laying claim to his birthright and allowing peace throughout the land.  
Thank God it wasn’t a tall order for him right?  Note that quests are never something as easy as fetch hither yon goat milk for my breakfast cereal my son. For the morning meal truly is the most important of the day!!!

 No sooner is Ator and Sunya married that Dakkar (Dakar of Zombie, Zombie Holocaust, Pierino Strikes Again and Ator, The Fighting Eagle), priest of the spider god’s men ransack the village and slay just about everyone in the area, slap Ator silly and scoop up his sister/bride.   Yea I am still skived on that.  Sorry.    


Ahem, Ator trains with Griba to better his might and mind when he encounters a young amazon warrior Roon (Sabrina Siani of Blue Island, Daughter of the Jungle, Gunan, King of the Barbarians and Palla al centro) who had to be saved by a man.  Snort, snort!!   The two form an alliance to fight the dark knights of Dakkar, fend off the legions of the undead and do battle with the spider god (Squiggly)! 

No wait, that's poison oak.  Ah crap!

Um it is long winded, confusing plot, the story drags in places.  The swordfights are not badly choreographed and some of the effects are decent enough but all in all this film is cheesy and ain’t no Gouda.  This is a fair enough adventure but you will find yourself snickering quite a bit.  A great attempt with not nearly enough funds behind it or proper time to edit; I am giving this a C minus overall.

Alternative Title Week: Space Mutiny

How do all and welcome back to Alternative Title Week and I realize I have tormented you all with this POS Italian Action/Adventure/Sci-fi tragedies so we will steer away from that horrendous standings and give you a really really bad sci-fi instead. You may have thought Silent Running was long and dull but that is peanuts compared to the festering turd that awaits you.  So grab a silver velour suit, try to not dies and be brought back due to lack of continuity.  This is Space Mutiny a.k.a. Mutiny in Space, Espacio exterior and Bunt w kosmosie.

Computer targeting system OF THE FUTURE!!!

Kalgan: I am being undermined by my own spoilers!

This piece of sputum hails from 1988 that is so low budgeted, it is using stock footage of Battlestar Galactica viper and Cylon raider attacks.   Our wayward travelers aboard the starship Southern Sun are divided into two groups. Those that are bound in their duties and believe in their commander to deliver them to  a proper world they can call home and those that cannot wait to take over the ship and find a planet to enjoy to their hearts content.   As a star vessel carrying Professor Spooner attempts to land with the ship’s landing bay when space pirates attack the viper squad and cause a serious of overacting on behalf of our hero David Ryder (Reb Brown of Captain America, Captain America II: Death Too Soon, Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf, Uncommon Valor, Yor, the Hunter from the Future and Night Claws) and would be love interest Doctor Lea Jansen (Cisse Cameron of Billy Jack, The Prize Fighter, Porky’s II: The Next Day and The Deli)to blow the walls of believability. 
In no way is this footage of the original Battlestar Galactica.

The fore mentioned Spooner is trapped in his craft as our noble hero emergency teleports out of his vehicle and…well screams at the top of his lungs how the ship is going to blow up.   Leading the faction of dissentients, Kalgan (Death Rides a Horse, Danger: Diabolik, Barbarella, Skidoo, Doctor Justice and The Devil’s Bed) whips some of the security and engineering to overthrow the ship and land it on an inhabitable planet.

There is some strange subplot of these space floozies known as the Belerofons …that served no purpose other than to point out spandex on the right women looks hot.  Seriously they have no standing at all other than to tempt the male members of the ship.

Rhombas Deathmatch 3000!!!!

Now to bash this film with a primitive piece of flint as it richly deserves.  Most of the computers OF THE FUTURE are Tandy equipment including the 3.5 floppy drives, continuity is so bad that a member shot in the stomach and left to die and 2 minutes later she is back on the bridge at her post as though her death never happened.  The exciting chase scene with the modified floor polishers’ attempt a Ben Hur chariot race but they are going up to speeds of at least 5 to 8 mph.    The ships’ lower engine rooms are clearly beer vats and the piping residing around it.  Furthermore the grounds around these vats are incredibly explosive as people get fired on and get blasted over the railings.  

Sir, my batch is killing me in these silver pants.

The only way to view this turkey is to enjoy Season 8 Episode 20 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as they bash it profusely.  Avoid this film as though it were a baby diaper filled to the brim with poopies.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alternative Title Week: Escape from the Bronx

Welcome back to another heaping helping of Alternative Title Week.  Since starting this concept with the Bronx Warriors, I thought it only proper to subject you all to its sequel. HEY!  Stop running away.  You didn’t have to watch it.   Okay then… Director Enzo G. Castellari (Cold Eyes of Fear, Keoma, The Inglorious Bastards, The Last Shark, The Bronx Warriors and Warriors of the Wasteland) felt his anti-hero Trash needed a bit more hype and love so came the sequel of his opus The Bronx Warriors.  So stock up on some ammo, avoid going out in the daylight and beware of Italians claiming to be Americans.  This is Escape from the Bronx a.k.a. The Bronx Warriors 2, Escape 2000, Escape from the Bronx- 1990: The Bronx Warriors II and Son Adam: Escape from the Bronx.

Chou stay out of ma beans!!!

Floyd Wrangler: No spoiler you idiot! How many times do I have to tell you, no spoiler! It makes me CRAZY!!

When we last left our greasy anti-hero Trash, (Mark Gregory of Rainbow, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, Adam and Eve, Thunder and Thunder II) he was the lone survivor of the Riders (the “toughest gang” of the Bronx).  Now he does runs for the remaining gangs in search of ammunition and sidearms for a profit.  While avoiding pot shots fired from the General Construction Corporation’s band of bully boys, Trash finds remaining the Bronx to be a bleak concept but has nowhere else to call home.  He tries to convince the leader of the combined gangs Tolberone (Antonio Sabato of Grand Prix, Hate for Hate, Barbarella, They Were Called Graveyard, Lovemaker and Beyond the Law) to start another uprising against GCC but to no avail.

Relax, they are just cutting down on the weeds.

The corporation promises those that leave the Bronx on their own accord will be sent to New Mexico with the promise of an affordable house and better living.  Yes take note nothing about setting them up in Manhattan or Brooklyn.   Meanwhile beyond their veiled promise is silver suit clad men armed with submachine guns and FLAMETHROWERS!!! They are doing building to building searches and smoking anything that shows an ounce of resistance to the forceful move.

Aren't you hot in that outfit?

The merciless corporate President Clark(Ennio Girolami of The Last Shark, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, Tuareg: The Desert Warrior, Operation Name and Sinbad of the Seven Seas) plays off the rumors that his conglomerate is using fascist tactics to move the people from the slums of the Bronx, however a reporter name of Moon Grey (Valeria D’Obici of Passione d’amore, Sweet Pea, Midnight Killer and The Best Man) claims that the GCC President is full of what makes the grass grow green and is exterminating people with extreme prejudice.  Oh those zany reporters.  

Clark’s main man, Floyd Wrangler (Henry de Silva of The Manchurian Candidate, Day of the Assassin, Sharky’s Machine, Chained Heat,  Above the Law and Cannonball Run II) assures Clark that he will meet the deadline and take care of the reporter as well. 
Moon Grey hooks up with Trash and a resistance fighter from Nam named Strike and his demolitionist 8 year old son to kidnap the President and hold him hostage until his goon squads pull out of the Bronx.
Die in the name of Charlton Heston!!!

As previously with the first movie the gunfights have that nice slow motion effect to let you clearly see they have been gunned down.  The fore mentioned boy rigs the stairwells and walkways with explosive charges to the likes you don’t see from a veteran Navy SEAL or Army Ranger.  This boy is terrifying in my opinion.  He can skip every bath he wants.  I don’t need him rigging my electric razor or toilet to explode. 

Typical 80’s action flick with a lot of gunfire, some fist fights and not a whole lot of plot in site but it was kind of fun to watch.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Alternative Title Week: The Bronx Warriors

Hiyas kids and welcome to Alternative Title Week.  Boy have I been scraping the bottom of the barrel for these cinematic wonders.  It would appear commonly in the latter 80’s that post-apocalyptic films are where the money is at.  With the success of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York and George Miller’s Mad Max that Italy was not far behind with its conglomerate of rip offs at the ready.  Prepare to be underwhelmed and less than flabbergast.  This is 1990: The Bronx Warriors a.k.a. The Bronx Warriors, Bronx Warriors, The Riffs and Warriors of the Bronx.


Trash: You bastard! You work for the Spoiler Corporation!

Hmm, cannot help but feel like that spoiler was aimed at me.  Oh well.   Our esteemed director Enzo G. Castellari (Drango: A Bullet for You, The Inglorious Bastards, Warriors of the Wasteland and Escape from the Bronx) brings us a schlock half baked and poorly paced story arc of a trilogy.  The concept is the world has taken a turn for the worst after a massive crime wave due to illegal drugs…and yet somehow all of the buildings are intact, we still have a police force, there are major TV networks and people are still going to work.. Ahem but other than that clearly the world has taken a turn for the worst.  We see a young girl run across the bridge as we see Manhattan is completely untouched by this all consuming wave of crime.  The very crime wave that made New York vacate the Bronx to the gang element and let them have at it.  Street justice should clear these knuckleheads out in about a year is my thinking.

One!...singular sensation!!


  A former policeman name of Hammer (Vic Morrow of Combat!, The Evictors, The Last Shark,  Humanoids from The Deep and B.A.D. Cats) infiltrates one of the gangs in order to find sad lost girl Ann (Stefania Girolami Goodwin of The Heroin Busters, The Last Shark, Warriors of the Wasteland and Sinbad of the Seven Seas) desperate to escape her father’s company the Manhattan Corporation from its luxury bought from the expense of others.  Strive sweetie!

Trash: Anti-hero or soft headed goober?

 Let us not forgot the vicious gangs like the Zombies?  A gaggle of inline roller skaters with modified hockey sticks, pads and repainted Nazi helmets; these boys are as threatening as an ingrown toenail yet the Riders (because they have motorcycles) vow to take them on at every turn.  Led by their charismatic leader of few words Trash (Marc Gregory of Rainbow, Escape from the Bronx, Thunder and Thunder II) the only thing I have noticed what this kid has going for him is pants so tight you can make out his religion and he is a slab of beef Reb Brown style.

But low and behold the Riders take a meeting with a rival group with the sweetest collection of hot rods known as the Tigers and led by B-movie and exploitation legend himself, Fred Williamson (MASH, Hammer, Black Caesar, Crazy Joe, Black Eyes, Deadly Impact, From Dusk Till Dawn and Vegas Vampires).  Word on the street is Trash has a cop in his midst and needs to check that.  So say the Ogre(Williamson)…and then they causally and carefully pull out from the scene leaving the bikers to crane their necks to follow them out.   HUH???!!!

Deaf International Film SrL. brought us this little gem courtesy of its director and the heavy metal movement was very popular so yes that is the better portion of your soundtrack.  All these gorgeous hard tail bikes got these cheesy plastic skulls that light up attached to their hogs.  WHY??!!!  It looks absurd but hey I am not the props master here.   The duel switchblades mounted on the bikes was a neat enough effect to make up for the skulls though.

Boy, I can pick up the dumb ones.

 This action/adventure/science fiction Italian hybrid clearly tried to capture the vibe and feel of The Warriors and Escape from New York and thus not create either.   Castellari is also fond of slow motion gun play of bodies dropping or explosions directly under their feet and to be fair, cinematically it looks amazing.  We chucked physics right out the door but again a great shot should not be sneered at.

Alternative Title Week!

Howdy girls and boys!!!  Welcome back and boy did I come up with some silly for this week.  After being a loyal fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and also reviewing movies for for a couple of years; I noticed a constant in the realm of B grade films marketing.  The need to alter the title numerous times throughout the regions.  For some, this is a means to improve the sales.  For others it is a simple factor that the original title does not translate well from language to language.

Sir, my suit is chaffing.

Personally, I think it is to drive critics completely crackers so they don't know what flick they are actually seeing.   Thus inspired is the theme of the week.   So sit back, relax and I hope you get a kick out of Alternative Title Week.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

SG-1 Picks of the Week: Avalon

Welcome back to SG-1 Picks of the Week.  First off I would like to apologize for not being around for the last couple of days but sinus headaches kicked in on Wednesday.  Yay me!   Moving right along I thought give the myriad of two part episodes this series loves to do we could touch base on one of my favorites.  So dial the DHD, watch for the event horizon and dive through the Chappa’ai.  This is Stargate: SG-1 Avalon.

Hey Teal'c, throw me the false idol. heh.

Vala Mal Doran: There’s nothing I hate more than a bold-faced spoiler.

After months of intense physical therapy from an F-302 crash in the Antarctic; Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder of Memphis Belle, Party of Five, Farscape, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum) assumes his prize command, SG-1.   Only the band seems to have gone their separate ways.  Now Lt. Colonel Sam Carter is residing in Area 51 and heading up the better portions of reverse engineering alien tech for Air Force use.   Many years of the struggles of the Goa’uld, Teal’c’s people the Jaffa are finally able to create a world of peace and unity their own but what this Jaffa nation does in its infancy can affect it for generations to come.    Dr. Daniel Jackson is on his way to Atlantis to better help the SG: Atlantis expedition run smoothly.  

Well Jackson at least she isn't Willy or Short Round.

So who the hell is Mitchell leading into unknown dangers?   As Mitchell is batting 0 for 3 an unscheduled wormhole kicks in and now base commander; Major General Landry (Beau Bridges of The Iron Triangle, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Agency, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: The Ark of Truth) gets a report from the Beta site monitoring station that an unknown woman has appeared asking for Dr. Jackson.  Moments delayed due to a frisking, the men bring her to the SGC to shock and dismay the SG-1 fans it is the same confidence trickster that beat the crap out of Daniel in Season 8. 

Now we slay the makers of Krull!

Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, City Life, Pitch Black, Queen of the Damned, Farscape and Farscape: The Peacekeepers War) a former host to a Goa’uld has managed to congeal her way back to the SGC and explain to Daniel she has found reference to a great treasure but she cannot read the Ancient writings.  As Teal’c is visiting the SGC, he decides to accompany Daniel, Vala and Mitchell to this dig site in Glastonbury or rather several meters under it.  Then the real adventure begins…

Part 2: As our band of explorers reveal in their extreme cleverness for discovers a tomb of an Ancient known as Meyordan or as he is known on Earth, Merlin.  So a few death defying traps later, the team is awarded with gold, jewels and various trinkets of which this viewer went, “SGC budget for the next 3 years.”  Daniel discovers a book written in Ancient speaking of the people of Atlantis and how they traveled across the galaxies, they further mention of how these people differed in their point of view.  As several of them ascended, some wished to be worshipped and feared while others chose a path of enlightenment and humility.    The recon team discovered an ample device that looks like a long range communications device…of course NO ONE knows how to turn the damn thing on or how it even works!! 

Sir, we frisked her many times over.

  Meanwhile back at the base, General Landry must balance being professional and personal when the primary physician is his daughter Dr. Carolyn Lam (Lexa Doig of TekWar, TekWar: TekLords, Traders, Jason X and Andromeda) who he is very strained from.   So there is that little bit of subplot there.  As Daniel and Vala bonded due to an alien device they proceed to examine the long range communications device as well.  Their bodies go completely limp and fall as their subconscious minds seem to inhabiting a couple of humans’ light years away. 

Well he's no Redford, ladies but have at him.

 What will happen to them?  Will they get back home?  Will the sexual tension between them ever be cut through?  Does Mitchell like fishing as much as O’Neill?  Will Teal’c be allowed more hair?  Will a group of the Asgard ever do the funky chicken?   Hey we may cover these very questions at a later date.